consumption by Richard Allenby-Pratt

© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Emirates Railway, Western Region, UAE

© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Emirates Railway, Western Region, UAE


Three days ago, Richard Allenby-Pratt presented his latest series "consumption" at Slidefest, where I also presented my Deira Polaroids series. He presented a series of photos "exploring the developed and undeveloped landscapes of the UAE" and questioning "how are decisions as consumers impact upon the environment". 

During his presentation Allenby-Pratt narrated each photo with his words and thoughts, a reflection on sustainable life (or lack of) in the UAE. It wasn't preachy, but it certainly gave us something to think about.

The photos feel lonely with a longing to find something better. I really loved looking at them and asked Richard if I can share his photos and words here. He very kindly said yes.  This is a small selection of what was presented at Slidefest. I really do hope the whole series gets exhibited, so that we can enjoy and appreciate them in large prints they way they're intended to be shown. 

consumption by Richard Allenby-Pratt


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Desert and mountains, between Hatta and Al Ain

The UAE is 42 years old. Prior to the formation of the federation the ancient landscape of this region had only really changed on a geological timescale; a timescale so vast that the human mind cannot even begin to perceive it. And yet, in one human generation, we have altered or in some way touched, almost every square kilometer. Why are we doing this?


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Desalination plant, Jebel Ali, Dubai

We like to use cheap disposable water bottles so we don't have to bother carrying and refilling a reusable bottle.


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Suspended property development, Jebel Ali, Dubai

We eat 2000 calories a day more than we need and then we work it off on an electric powered machine.


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Demolition waste landfill, Dubai

We think it's normal to create a bag of waste packaging for every meal we eat. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Car logistic depot, Dubai

We think because everyone else drives a gas-guzzling 4x4 that we need to, even though the one time we took it off road we got stuck. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Pylons, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

We think an electric and water bill equivalent to 10% of our salary is normal because we like to sleep with a duvet over us even when it's 35 degrees outside. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - New housing, Abu Dhabi

We think it’s normal to pay the same for a litre of water or petrol.  


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Forestry project, Western Region, Abu Dhabi

We illuminate the night so that it more closely resembles the day, with which we are more comfortable.  


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Sewage treatment, Sharjah

We like our gardens, parks and golf courses to be covered in perfect green grass and edged with pretty flowers, even though we live in a desert. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Mangrove forestry project, Western Region, Abu Dhabi

We don't mind being the victims of corporate policies of built-in obsolescence because we live for new products. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Forestry project, Western Region, Abu Dhabi

We can only be functional and contributing members of this society if we are consuming as much as everyone else. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Nuclear facility under construction, Western Region, Abu Dhabi

We willingly welcome corporations into our lives so they can target and manipulate us. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Cyanobacteria, Western Region, Abu Dhabi

We happily embrace the subliminal messages of the fashion and cosmetics industries that tell us that, by nature, we are ugly. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Dredging project, Western Region, Abu Dhabi

We consider property as an investment product rather than housing because we hope to make money without doing any work. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Agricultural projects, Liwa, Abu Dhabi

We only see the world around us in terms of potential gain for ourselves. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Tyre incionerator, Abu Dhabi

We seek to stockpile affluence and teach our kids to make it their goal too. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Gravel Quarry, Hatta, Dubai

We think that the only route to our future security is perpetual growth, because we think that this world has infinite space and infinite resources. 


© Richard Allenby-Pratt - Shopping Mall, Dubai

And we marvel at the creations of man and ignore the creations of nature. 

You can follow Richard Allenby-Pratts ‘consumption’ project and read the commentaries here